Suicide Grief

Suicide Grief

By: Michaela Reynolds

Losing a loved one by suicide can be overwhelming and heart wrenching. Grief in response to suicide can be complicated. You may be consumed with guilt and wonder to yourself if you could have done something to prevent their death. Feelings of anger, shame, guilt, regret and blame are very common, but it can make it hard for you to talk about their death due to stigma that is associated with it. It is important to note that there is NO right way to grieve losing a loved one to suicide!

In the aftermath, you may feel like you will never enjoy life again. To be honest, you may always wonder why it happened and experience reminders that can trigger painful feelings. However, the intensity of your grief will fade as time goes on but will probably never fully pass. In the meantime, it is beneficial for you to adopt healthy coping mechanisms. Such as:

  • Keep in touch with loved ones, friends, and other supporters
  • Don’t rush yourself
  • Consider a support group for families affected by suicide
  • Grieve in your own way
  • Expect setbacks
  • Be prepared for painful reminders

It important for you to understand the following: You should accept that some things are beyond your control, separate responsibility from blame, and understand that anyone can miss the warning signs.

If you are someone or you know someone who appears to be suffering from suicide grief, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201)368-3700 or (212)722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention/after-a-suicide-loss/suicide-and-grief#:~:text=Grief%20in%20response%20to%20suicide,the%20stigma%20associated%20with%20suicide.

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Helping Children Deal with Grief

Helping Children Deal with Grief

By: Michaela Reynolds

Losing a loved one is inevitable and can be one of the most difficult times in life. Sadly, you cannot protect your children from the pain of the loss, but you can help them build healthy coping skills. The grieving process will look different to everyone, but it is especially different with children compared to adults. For example, preschool children will most likely view death as temporary and reversible. This is because cartoon character’s death in TV shows or movies usually will die and come back to life. While children between the ages of 5-9 will start to think of death like adults do. However, they will view death as rare and not something that will happen to them.

It is important to help the child express feelings about the death. A way to do this is by reading the child books about death, telling stories or looking at pictures of the person who died. It is also important for you to express your own sadness and make them aware that it is okay to be sad at this time. Offer your support and comfort when you can, while also encouraging them to ask any questions or talk about their feelings.

It is normal that the following weeks after the death for the child to feel immediate grief or believe that the person is still alive. However, long-term denial or avoidance of grief can be unhealthy and can lead to severe future problems.

Signs of children experiencing serious problems with grief:

  • Extended period of depression: a child loses interest in daily activities
  • Loss of appetite, inability to sleep, and prolonged fear of being alone
  • Excessive imitation of the person who died
  • Acting much younger for an extended period of time
  • Believing they are talking to or seeing the person who died
  • Withdrawal from friends
  • Sharp drop in school performance or refusal to attend

If these signs persist, please seek professional help; a child and adolescent mental health professional will be able to help your child accept and properly grieve the death.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for the loss of a loved one, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/  

Sources:

https://childmind.org/article/helping-children-deal-grief/

https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-And-Grief-008.aspx

Image: https://kidshelpline.com.au/parents/issues/supporting-child-through-grief-and-loss

The Courage to Love Again-The Psychology of Heartbreak

The risk of loving someone is the fact that heartbreak may come one day. It is associated with singlehood, neurotic tendencies, and an anxious/avoidant attachment. After the heartbreak one starts the fear being hurt again or/and you start to believe that there is something about you that makes it impossible for someone to love you properly.

Romantic love activates in the caudate nucleus through dopamine.  Psychologist refer to this part of the brain as the “reward system”, emphasizing the idea that love does trigger emotion but essentially it is more of a motivational state, the motivation to obtain and retain the objects affection. This part of the brain lights up when someone is in love and when someone is a cocaine addict, meaning you are essentially an addict. Getting over your lost love will be tedious but well worth it. Researchers have found that if a person was no longer in love but still in pain from a break up their brain would still be in motivation mode, and expecting a reward. Hence why heartbreak can bring visceral pain, your body is not getting what it wants. The grieving person has numerous neural circuits devoted to the lost person, and each of these has to be brought up and reconstructed to take into account the person’s absence.

Specifically, the pain may be caused by the simultaneous hormonal triggering of the sympathetic activation system (fight-or-flight system that increases the activity of the heart and lungs) and the parasympathetic activation system (rest-and-digest response, social engagement system). It’s like heart’s accelerator and brakes are pushed simultaneously, creating the feeling of heartbreak.

What can help?

  • Give yourself time to grieve and reflect
  • Forgive the other person and yourself
  • Work on rebuilding good feelings about yourself and a life on your own
  • Avoid assumptions that keep you mired in the wreckage of your past relationship
  • Be aware of old relationship patterns
  • Be open to someone who is different
  • Give love time to grow

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy due to heartbreak, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/this_is_your_brain_on_heartbreak

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/complicated-love/202011/love-after-heartbreak

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/complicated-love/202011/love-after-heartbreak

Unexpected and Unwanted Pregnancy: The Psychological Effects of a Pregnancy One is Not Ready For

By: Rebecca Fernandez

Unexpected and unwanted pregnancies can end in one of three ways. The first: The pregnant woman carries the fetus to term and keeps the child, putting her previous life on hold to raise a child into a life that is not ready for them. The second: the pregnant woman carries the fetus to term and gives the child up for adoption after birth – at which point she may have grown extremely attached to them. Finally, the third: the pregnant woman undergoes an abortion.

While none of the above options are desirable, it is important to note that none of them are any more emotionally destructive than the others. Thus, contrary to many pro-life arguments, abortion isn’t a particular source of trauma. Rather, abortion is a solution to the broader traumatic issue of unexpected and unwanted pregnancy.

The impossible choice can leave a woman feeling helpless and alone. All of the options can be painful and traumatic. Whether the specific thoughts and feelings revolve around the woman losing her previous life and anticipated future to take care of a child, losing a child that she grew attached to throughout her pregnancy, or undergoing an abortion and losing the opportunity to raise a child because she isn’t ready, the lasting effects – grief and otherwise – can remain for a very long time. The different regrets – what-ifs, guilt, sorrow, grief, self-hatred, self-doubt, etc. – stemming from any of these choices all have the potential to linger for the rest of the woman’s life.

For anyone presented with this impossible crossroads, the most important thing to remember is that whatever decision you make is valid. There is no magic solution, and the best one of the three options varies with each individual woman’s situation. All of the options can lead to pain and trauma. To move forward with life after this point, it is important to work through your feelings by talking to friends or loved ones. Speaking with a therapist can be extremely beneficial as well. You are not alone – help is out there.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health after an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199707/the-effects-abortion

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200811/abortion-and-the-emotions-it-brings

https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2006/08/abortion-and-mental-health-myths-and-realities#

Physician Burnout during a Global Pandemic

By Eleanor Kim

Physicians and nurses around the world have been at the front lines fighting the coronavirus and saving the lives of those infected. Now more than ever, citizens are coming to realize the importance of those within the medical field and the bravery that comes with entering medicine. That being said, there has been an immense amount of pressure placed upon healthcare workers, often causing stress, anxiety, and depression. At the end of the day, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are humans and can feel the effects of burnout during such a heightened and high stakes moment in medical history.

Burnout is when someone becomes overwhelmed by the demands of their daily life, becoming emotionally and physically exhausted and creating a sense of depersonalization and weakened personal accomplishments. Burnout is a common occurrence among physicians and nurses given the great amount of pressure that comes with saving lives. That being said, these feelings of burnout have skyrocketed given the additionally taxing nature of current frontline medical work such as the stress of isolating from friends and family, the extended hours of work, the tragic lack of medical supplies, and the fear of contracting or spreading the virus, to name a few. Physicians are also left to deal with the other struggles and anxieties that the past year has brought upon the general population regarding economic, political, racial, and other personal effects of the pandemic.

During these elongated periods where healthcare workers are left sleep deprived, improperly fed, and overall anxious about the current status of the pandemic, they are exposed to both mentally and physically long lasting effects. In 2020, there have been a record number of physicians who have reported feelings of burnout and other mental health concerns since the start of the pandemic. Should these issues go untreated, there is an increased risk for depression, self-medication, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. Burnout is more than just stress; it is a mental health crisis and should be treated as such.

If you or someone you know is feeling the effects of physician and healthcare worker burnout, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Resources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lipiroy/2020/05/17/doctor-heal-thyself-physician-burnout-in-the-wake-of-covid-19/

Image Source:

https://blog.frontiersin.org/2020/04/14/more-than-a-third-of-medical-staff-suffered-insomnia-during-the-covid-19-epidemic-in-china/

Caregiver Depression

Caregiver Depression

By: Maryellen Van Atter

Caring for another individual is no easy feat; just as parenting requires preparation, so does caring for a family member with an illness or disability. A seldom discussed topic is ‘caregiver syndrome’, also known as caregiver depression or caregiver burnout. It is estimated that 20% of family caregivers suffer with depression – in the general population, it is reported that 7.1% of all individuals suffer from depression. This means that caregivers experience depression at a rate more than double the average person. Despite the prevalence of this condition, it is rarely talked about and sometimes viewed as something shameful. This should not be: caregiving is a difficult job and the first step to feeling better is acknowledging that it’s okay to feel the way you do. Just as there is no ‘perfect’ way to parent, there is no ‘perfect’ or ‘right’ way to be a caregiver.

Everyone experiences depression differently, but a few common signs are a loss of interest in things that you once found enjoyable, a change in sleeping patterns, and feeling irritable, hopeless, or helpless. These symptoms can persist even if you have placed a loved one in a care facility. Psychotherapy has been shown to be effective at managing caregiver depression and helping caregivers to feel more satisfied with their lives. Additionally, antidepressant medications can provide symptom relief; combined with psychotherapy, this can allow caregivers to explore their feelings and manage their caregiving responsibilities.

        If you or someone you know is struggling with caregiving responsibilities, Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can help. Please contact us in Paramus, NJ at 201-368-3700 or in Manhattan, NY at 212-996-3939 to arrange an appointment. For more information about our services, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

 

Sources:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml

https://www.caregiver.org/caregiver-depression-silent-health-crisis

 

Grieving Vs Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

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Grieving Vs Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

By: Karime Herrera

Coping with grief can be difficult. You are in complete disbelief that your loved one, family or friend is no longer a phone call away. When grief begins to drastically disrupt your life, it is best to seek professional help.However, some people might not know when it is necessary to seek help. At what point does grief turn into persistent complex bereavement disorder? Persistent complex bereavement disorder is when an individual has been experiencing severe grief symptoms for over twelve months. Some symptoms that a person with PCBD encounters are trusting people, hallucinations of the person who has passed away, suicidal thoughts, loss of interest in preforming daily tasks, and constant feelings of sadness. If you are experiencing these symptoms for an extreme period of time it is best to see a psychologist in order to help you cope with your loss. A licensed practitioner can treat PCBD with cognitive therapy, mindfulness, psychotherapy or a combination.  Mediation might be helpful in relieving the symptoms and often helps individuals suffering from PCBD continue with their daily lives.

Grief: Ways to Cope

Grief: Ways to Cope

By Toniann Seals

The death of a loved one requires coping skills that not many people know how to develop. In this case, grief is the feeling of sadness and loss in relation to someone no longer in your life.

Ways to cope:

  • Join a support group
    • You may find comfort in being around others who can relate to your pain and experience.
  • Be open
    • Try not to bottle up your feelings. Express them and address them as soon as needed.
  • Accept your differences
    • Do not worry about how long your grieving process is or if you are reacting properly. Everyone grieves differently and it is all up to the individual.
  • Take care of yourself
    • Try not to neglect your hobbies, hygiene or health because these will help you through the day.
  • Seek counseling
    • If you feel that it is difficult handling the grieving process on your own, contact a psychologist or psycho therapist who can help you overcome your loss.

If you or someone you know is having a difficult time grieving speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/coping-grief.html

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm/

https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/grief

(Image) http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm/f943158abab8ab7973711dda2a54d74c0bdc5979/c=284-2756-5920-5940&r=x1683&c=3200×1680/local/-/media/2016/11/09/USATODAY/USATODAY/636142814289480079-XXX-193876-1-iocs-Sadness1-150-per16-150-R1.jpg

 

Low Self Esteem: 7 Steps to Start Loving Yourself

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

Self-esteem describes the way that we evaluate and judge ourselves. It is assessed on a continuum from high to low, with unfortunately many people who fall under the category of having low self-esteem. People who feel this way about themselves do not see themselves and their views as valuable, compare themselves to others, feel worthless, and lack self-confidence.

If you or anyone you know struggles with low self-esteem, you know how difficult it can be to bear the feelings that come with it. It can be draining, can impair overall functioning, can influence social interactions, and can cause one to be withdrawn from society. Although it is not easy to cope with low self-esteem, it can be improved through steps towards accepting and loving oneself. The capacity for change comes from within yourself!

Here are 7 Steps to Begin Loving Yourself and Boost your Self-Esteem:

1. Practice saying things you like about yourself in the mirror every morning when you wake up. Start your day taking the time to compliment yourself. This will begin to come naturally the more you do it.

2. Write out a list of your accomplishments. Accomplishments as big as landing the job you wanted or as small as getting the laundry done count. The more you applaud yourself, the more you will be able to boost your confidence.

3. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and failures. It is easy to hold onto failures and consider yourself to be a failure. Learn to accept and forgive mistakes, recognizing that everyone in the world makes them.

4. Stop comparing. Remind yourself that you are different from the people around you, and that you are not them. The more you try to compare yourself with others, the more you lose sight of who you are.

5. Spend time with the people you love. It is easy to isolate when you are not feeling your best, but surrounding yourself with the family and friends who you feel closest to can boost your happiness and make you feel good about yourself, especially seeing how happy they are to be with you.

6. But also, spend time alone. Take yourself out somewhere nice, go on a long drive alone, or even travel by yourself. Giving yourself “me-time” is important in developing a better relationship with yourself.

7. Remind yourself that no on is perfect. It is easy for us to feel bad about ourselves when we think we need to be this “perfect” person. Remember, perfect does not exist, so you should just try to be you instead.

If you or someone you know is suffering from low self-esteem, please contact our psychotherapy/psychiatry offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Dementia: 5 Facts You Need to Know

By Stephanie Osuba

Everyone fears that they, or their family members, will fall victim to a degenerative neurological disease when they age. Dementia is considered a syndrome, a series of symptoms that often appear together, and is caused by damage to the brain cells. Symptoms include memory loss, cognitive impairment, and diminishing language. Here are five facts that you need to know about dementia.

  1. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia; they aren’t interchangeable: As stated above, dementia is a syndrome and more of an umbrella term for other types of dementia, like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and vascular dementia. Different types of dementia correlate with different types of brain damage. Alzheimer’s is mainly a result of abnormally high protein levels in and around brain cells that inhibit communication between them. This eventually leads to the death of the nerve cells and loss of brain tissue. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.
  2. Dementia is not just a “memory loss” disease: Dementia also affects a wide range of cognition processes including: learning, language, executive and motor function, attention, and social cognition. For example, two thirds of diagnoses of Alzheimer’s are given to women primarily because they exhibit the symptom of memory loss more than men.
  3. Cognitive decline doesn’t always lead to dementia: Memory and other cognitive issues can be a result of other things such as: delirium, mild cognitive impairment, or normal changes due to age. According to a study done by the Mayo Clinic, even mild cognitive impairment only lead to dementia in 29% of cases within the next five years.
  4. Not all types of dementias are progressive: Underlying causes such as vitamin B12 deficiency, underactive thyroid syndrome, and normal pressure hydrocephalus can be reversed with treatment. Even medications like antidepressants, narcotics, and antihistamines can have dementia-like side effects.
  5. Lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of dementia: Exercise has proven to be a great defense to cognitive decline through increased heart rate and blood flow to the brain. Maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in social activities is also a huge help.

 

Source: Ph.D., M. C. (2017, December 7). 5 Facts You Need to Know About Dementia. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-fifth-vital-sign/201712/5-facts-you-need-know-about-dementia 

If you or someone you know needs help coping with the dementia of a family member, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.